Extra-Illustrated Poem Celebrating the Monumental El Caballito

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204. LARRAÑAGA, Bruno Joseph de. Poema heroyco en celebridad de la colocación de la estatua colosal de bronce de Nuestro Católico Monarca el Sr. Don Carlos Quarto, Rey de España y Emperador de las Indias, Por Don Bruno Joseph de Larrañaga, Tesorero Mayordomo de la N.C. de México. Con las licensias necesarias. Mexico: En la Oficina de Don Mariano de Zúñiga y Ontiveros, año 1804. [6], 1-16, [2], i-vi, [2], 1-10 pp., printed on thick paper, engraved ornamental head- and tail pieces; extra-illustrated with lithograph frontispiece: Estatua Ecuestre de Carlos IV (image size including title: 17.5 x 15.4 cm; the statue is surrounded by an ornamenal iron fence, a well-dressed couple in front looking up at the statue, other figures in the background, unattributed). 4to (25 x 18.5 cm), contemporary full tree sheep with spine and boards gilt decorated, tinted edges, marbled endpapers. Slightly rubbed, upper cover water stained at right center. Title page with small void at upper right not affecting text. Overall very good.

     First edition. Beristáin de Souza, Biblioteca Hispano Americana Setentrional (1883), Vol. II, p. 138. Medina, México 9702. Palau 132066. Porrua 7328. Ramírez Sale 433. Sabin 39084. A controversial equestrian statue (familiarly called El Caballito) conceived by Viceroy Branciforte and cast in Mexico City by Manuel Tolsá, head of the Academy of San Carlos. Before it was finished, a wooden model was erected to much fanfare. When the actual bronze statue was finally installed (with Humboldt in attendance) in December, 1803, the ceremony was greeted with renewed festivities. During the Mexican War of Independence, controversy over it began, but it was spared destruction through the intervention of Lucas Alamán, who argued for its artistic merit. It remains in Mexico City to this day and is one of the largest bronze statues anywhere.

     The author (1746-ca. 1816), a well known priest and poet, produced works in both Spanish and Latin and at times, as here, in both languages at once. Sculptor Tolsá (1757-1816) studied in Spain and eventually became one of Mexico’s most famous architects and sculptors. This statue is considered his masterpiece. The several introductions praise the author, the statue, and the monarch.


Auction 23 Abstracts

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